UPDATE SUNDAY, JULY 24, 1:40 P.M.:
Vernon firefighters responded to a wildland fire and a grass fire over the weekend, slightly more than 12 hours apart.
The first fire happened at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Saturday (July 23), at the base of Turtle Mountain, along Alexis Park Drive. Firefighters were dispatched to a report of a wildland fire, and upon arrival, confirmed the fire was approximately 30-feet-x-30-feet. The fire was extinguished quickly. No structures were at risk and no injuries were reported.
The second fire happened Sunday, July 24, at approximately 11:40 a.m., in the 3100-block of 48th Avenue. Firefighters were dispatched to a grassy area in a business district, along the railway tracks. Upon arrival, the fire was approximately 50-feet-x-50-feet. Again, crews extinguished the fire quickly using equipment from the department’s wildland truck and two engines.
“Both of the fires have been determined to be human caused, but neither appears to be criminal in nature. We can confirm there was no train in the area when the fire happened near the rail line,” said Deputy Fire Chief Alan Hofsink. “Thanks to the diligent and precise actions of our well-trained crews, these fires were attacked and extinguished quickly, preventing them from spreading and potentially causing much greater damage.”
Over the last several days, daytime temperatures have increased significantly throughout the North Okanagan, drying out ground materials and shrubbery. The fire danger rating in Vernon is currently listed as high.
“Looking at the weather forecast for this week, we know we’ll be experiencing even higher temperatures and sustained heat throughout the region,” said Hofsink. “Therefore, it’s critical that everyone is aware of their surroundings, careful about the activities they’re doing outside, and that they report fire or smoke to 911 immediately, if they see it.
“We need to work together to keep our community safe from fire hazards all year long, but we must be even more cautious during these hot Okanagan summers.”
Vernon Fire Rescue Services would like to thank everyone for their extra vigilance and for helping to keep the community fire safe as people continue to enjoy the summer season.
Vernon Fire Rescue Services crews are drawing praise on one social media forum for their prompt response to a grass fire in Vernon Saturday, July 23.
A Facebook post on the Vernon Community Forum page from a Loretta VL showed considerable flames coming from a grass fire on the northwest side of Alexis Park Drive at 39th Avenue, at the base of Turtle Mountain. The post was made at approximately 10 p.m. Saturday.
“Firefighters have knocked it down quickly,” said Loretta on her post with accompanying photo.
“Glad they got on it quick there are a lot of houses there and it’s pretty dry with all the pine needles right behind the apartments,” said another post.
The Morning Star has reached out to the City of Vernon for details on the fire, which appears to have been contained to the grass.